POU, MORIARTY & JOHNSON BILL TARGETING SALARIES & BENEFITS AT STATE & LOCAL AUTHORITIES ADVANCED BY PANEL

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Nellie Pou, Paul Moriarty and Gordon Johnson sponsored to control salaries and benefits at state and local authorities moved closer to becoming law Thursday when it was advanced by a Senate committee.
The bill (A-2505) was released 13-0 by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. It was approved 77-0 by the Assembly in June.
“This much-needed bill would align the salaries and benefits at the independent state authorities and local authorities with those of full-time state employees, helping put an end to the abuses that have become far too frequent,” said Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen). “This bill is a common sense reforms that will certainly protect taxpayers.”
“Taxpayers rightly see no reason why workers at independent agencies should enjoy higher pay and benefits,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “This bill would put a stop to that and put everyone on a level and reasonable playing field, saving taxpayer money in the long-run and halting the wasteful spending that has gone on far too long. Taxpayers deserve better and with this bill they’ll get the protections they need.”
“As we have seen too many times, some of these authorities act without accountability, with egregious salaries and benefits,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “It’s long past time for that to stop.”
The bill requires the chairman of an authority to annually certify – to the Local Finance Board for a local authority or to the state treasurer for an independent state authority – that the salaries and benefits of its officers, employees and members don’t exceed these limits:
· No new executive director of an authority shall have a salary higher than the governor without the approval of the Local Finance Board or the state treasurer, as the case may be;
· No new officer, employee or member of an authority shall have a salary higher than the salary of a Cabinet officer without the approval of the Local Finance Board or the state treasurer, as the case may be;
· Payments by an authority for accumulated unused sick leave, for new officers and employees, shall not exceed $15,000 and shall be paid only at the time of retirement;
· Officers and employees of an authority shall have the same paid holidays – 12 in number – as full-time state employees, when current collective bargaining agreements expire;
· Officers and employees of an authority shall contribute a minimum of 1.5 percent of base salary for the cost of health care benefits coverage provided by the authority, and new officers and employees shall contribute in retirement a minimum of 1.5 percent of the monthly retirement allowance for health care benefits coverage; and
· An authority shall prohibit the use of six or more consecutive days of accumulated sick leave by any new officer or employee in the year prior to that officer or employee’s retirement without a medical necessity verified in writing by a physician. The bill provides for penalties to be imposed on those who violate this prohibition.